1 – 2 September 2018 the European Society for Eurasian Cooperation (ESEC) hosted its first Annual Munich Retreat. ESEC gathered young researchers from Germany, Austria, Italy and Belgium for two days of brainstorming sessions on future activities and projects of the NGO.
The “European Society for Eurasian Cooperation” (ESEC) is a newly founded grass-root NGO. It was officially registered as an «e.V.» in Vienna, Austria in April 2018. Its main aim is to create a better understanding among Europe’s government, business, research and media communities of the contemporary processes of economic integration in the wider Eurasian space, especially within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
The decision to found the NGO was made by several young European researchers after they met at the international youth forum “Future of Eurasian and European Integration: Foresight – 2040”, which took place in Vienna Austria in December 2017. During talks on the sidelines of the forum and of the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council, which also was part of the forum, they noticed that in Europe there were almost no NGOs that were promoting cooperation between the European Union and its member states with the developing Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and other regional players of the so-called “Greater Eurasian space”.
In order to achieve this goal the participants of the meeting in Munich decided that the think tank should focus on the following activities: conduction of research and publication of articles, policy papers and reports; as well as of lectures, seminars and workshops addressed at the government, business, research and media communities of Europe.
The participants thought it would be advisable to initiate a particular project – the “Marco Polo Young Leaders Network” of European government officials, business persons, researchers, journalists and civil activists who support stronger EU-Eurasia cooperation named after the famous Italian merchant and voyager Marco Polo (who was only 17 years old when he embarked on his first journey through Central Eurasia to China).
“The meeting in Munich was excellent! We discussed our aims and activities for the nearest future and set the framework for future projects” – Makhabat Bazhenova, press-speaker, ESEC.